Commentary: On Friday 3 December 2021, the Waipapa/Papanui-Innes community Board is set to decide on a meeting schedule for 2022. Two options are proposed by staff: meet twice a month (as has been the case up until now); or meet only once a month. Would the latter option reduce public access and participation?
In addition to Ordinary Meetings, the Board also meets informally at least once a month for briefings from Council staff and other updates. With very limited exceptions, these briefings have not been open to the public. If the Board resolves to hold only one formal meeting a month, the agenda notes that the informal briefings could be held at ‘various community locations’ within the Community Board area, and that they include a 30 minute public forum to allow the local community to raise issues and update the Board on matters of interest.
Earlier this month the Waipapa/Papanui-Innes Community Board received a public briefing from Christchurch City Council staff on rules regarding housing intensification. The purpose of this briefing was to provide an overview of the current planning rules regarding housing intensification as well as potential future changes coming from the Government, in response to community concerns regarding intensification.
Council staff had previously presented the same briefing to the Council’s Urban Development and Transport Committee, before embarking on a series of public briefings to Community Boards. In the case of our Board, a number of members of the public were in attendance and were able to ask questions of staff.
In a bid to improve access, our Board live-streams our public meetings so that those who cannot attend can follow along online, and/or view the recording afterwards. We do this on a best-efforts basis using our own technology at zero cost to the ratepayer – an approach that comes with some limitations. Embedded below is the video from the housing intensification briefing – as you will see this has been streamed using a single webcam with limited video quality. Staff giving the briefing can be heard very well, however some of the questions from the floor not so much – apologies for that.
Commentary: A comment that often seems to be made in relation to public engagement with the Christchurch City Council is “what’s the point?”. Here are three examples illustrating the benefits of getting involved and giving feedback.
I’ve fielded a few questions from Papanui residents as to when we might expect to see housing development in the Cranford Basin. The background to this is the 2017 approval of the Cranford Regeneration Plan, which saw a part of the area rezoned from rural to residential.
I did some research on this, including reading many of the documents available on the Council’s website, talking to landowners and asking questions of both the Christchurch City Council and also the Greater Christchurch Partnership.
The Spinoff was kind enough to publish the resulting article – click through to read:
Question for readers
What are your thoughts on the Cranford Regeneration Plan and the prospect of some of the privately-owned land in the Cranford Basin being developed for housing?
Update: This morning the Council’s Urban Development and Transport Committee approved the public notification of a proposed change to the District Plan. The proposal relates to the use of residential dwellings for visitor accommodation (e.g. Airbnb and HomeAway/Bookabach-type activities), and has hit the headlines recently, with some individuals and groups arguing the changes are unnecessary or go too far, and others that they don’t go far enough. What’s being proposed, and what are the next steps in the process?
In February this year I attended a Papanui drop-in session as part of the Council’s consultation on potential changes to the Christchurch District Plan around managing home-share accommodation. What I found interested at the time was that of the estimated 1600-plus listings in Christchurch on the likes of Air BnB etc for unhosted accommodation (where the owner did not live on site), only a ‘handful’ were compliant with the existing District Plan requirements, specifically the need for a Resource Consent for a property to be used in that way.